How do Courts Determine "Child Support" in Nevada?

Child support in Las Vegas — How much will I have to pay?

Las Vegas family law attorney discusses calculating child support payments in Nevada. More info at https://www.shouselaw.com/nevada/family/nevada-child-support or call Las Vegas Defense Group for a FREE consultation at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673). HOW DO COURTS DETERMINE CHILD SUPPORT IN NEVADA? Nevada law obligates all parents to support their children financially, whether they are married, single, divorced, straight, or gay. This can result in custody payments. A parent owes child custody in Nevada when the other parent has sole or primary custody of the child, or when the parents share joint custody but the other parent makes more money. Child support in Nevada starts with a base payment amount. The base payment depends on two main factors. 1) The number of children the couple have together, and 2) the paying parent’s gross monthly income from all sources including salary, commissions, tips, bonuses, investments, and self-employment income. With one child, the base amount of child support in Nevada is 18% of monthly income. With two children, it is 25%. For three children, child support is 27% of monthly income. And for each additional child, it is an additional 2%. In practice however, child support is usually more or less than this amount. For one thing, Nevada law sets forth both a minimum and maximum amount of child support. The minimum in Nevada is usually $100 per child. The maximum varies by monthly income and is adjusted every year. The absolute maximum base support payment in Nevada is $1,115 a month, but that applies solely to parents who earn at least $14,816 per month. More importantly, a Nevada court can increase or decrease child support payments depending on the child’s and parents’ circumstances. For instance, a judge may increase child support payments to cover any special needs of the child such as medical care, health insurance premiums, or special education. The Nevada court may also reduce child support. For instance, when the paying parent cannot afford it for reasons other than the parent’s refusal to work. And finally, where parents share custody of a child jointly, Nevada courts use a formula called the Wright v. Osburn set up. Under this approach, the court determines how much each would owe if he/she did not have custody. These amounts are offset against each other, and whoever earns more must pay the difference. LAS VEGAS DEFENSE GROUP, L.L.C. Our family law attorneys at Las Vegas Defense Group, L.L.C., represent clients all throughout Nevada including Las Vegas, Henderson, Washoe County, Reno, Carson City, Laughlin, Mesquite, Bunkerville, Moapa, Nye County, Elko, Pahrump, Searchlight, Moapa Valley, Goodsprings, Boulder City, North Las Vegas, Beatty, and Tonopah. Our offices are located in Las Vegas and Reno: 2970 W. Sahara Ave. Las Vegas, NV 89102 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) fax: 702-974-0524 200 S. Virginia St. 8th floor Reno, NV 89501 (775) 348-9685 Learn more at https://www.shouselaw.com/nevada/family. Or call 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673).


In Nevada, a parent is entitled to child support if the child lives with that parent at least 60% of the time.1 A parent is also entitled to child support if the parents share child custody in Nevada and the other parent makes more money.

In most cases, child support is a percentage of the paying parent's gross monthly income as follows:

Number of Children

% of Monthly Income

1 child

18%

2 children

25%

3 children

29%

4 children

31%

Each additional child

+2%

But child support can be more or less depending on:

  1. The parents' relative income and ability to pay, and
  2. Any special needs of the child or children.2

To help you better under Nevada's laws on child support, our Las Vegas family law attorneys discuss, below:

Young Asian girl shaking money out of a piggy bank

1. Who is entitled to child support payments in Nevada?

Under NRS 125B, a parent with “primary physical custody” of a child has a right to child support payments. A parent has primary physical custody if the child lives with that parent at least 60% of the time.

The other parent is known as a “non-custodial” parent. The non-custodial parent is the one who must usually pay child support.

If each parent has the child at least 40% of the time the parents have "joint custody." There is a special rule for child support in joint custody cases, as discussed in Section 8, below.

2. Can parents get child support if they were not married?

Child support has nothing to do with marriage. It is based solely on one's status as a parent.

Being a parent is not limited to married people. It is not even biology that determines whether you are a parent. Same-sex couples can be parents in Nevada. And in some cases, partners can agree to be parents.

To learn more about who is a parent, you may wish to read our articles on:

3. How does a court determine child support?

Child support in Nevada varies depending on:

  1. How many children are receiving support, and
  2. The “non-custodial” parent's gross monthly income.4

“Gross monthly income” means the parent's pre-tax income from all sources, including:

  • Salary,
  • Tips,
  • Commissions,
  • Bonuses,
  • Royalties,
  • Investment income,
  • Rental income,
  • Interest, and
  • Alimony from a prior marriage.

If the parent is self-employed, he or she can deduct legitimate business expenses from the calculation of gross income.5

Estimate your child support using our Nevada child support calculator.

Hand money

4. Is there a minimum amount of child support in Nevada?

The minimum amount of child support is normally $100 per month per child.

The court may reduce the minimum if the parent cannot pay it. But the court will not reduce child support if the reason the parent can't pay is because of:

  • Willful unemployment, or
  • Willful underemployment.6

This means a parent cannot avoid child support payments by refusing to work.

If a parent does so, the court will order child support based on the parent's true potential earning capacity.7

5. Is there a maximum amount of child support in Nevada?

Nevada child support payments “cap out” at a “presumptive maximum amount” per child.

The presumptive maximum is the most a court can order a parent to pay, unless:

  • The parents have a written agreement providing for a higher amount,  or
  • The child has special needs as set forth in Section 6, below.8

As of July 1 2019, the presumptive maximum amounts of child support in Nevada are:

Gross Monthly Income Presumptive Max. Amount per child
$0 to less than $4,235 $728
$4,235 to less than $6,351 $800
$6,351 to less than $8,467 $876
$8,467 to less than $10,585 $946
$10,585 to  less than $12,701 $1,019
$12,701 to less than $14,816 $1,091
$14,816 & above $1,165

Nevada law adjusts the presumptive maximum amount every year to reflect increases in the cost of living.9

See our article What is the presumptive maximum for child support in Nevada?

6. When can a court award extra child support?

The court can increase the amount of a child support a parent owes. It can do this if the parent with custody needs more for: 

  • Health insurance;
  • Child care;
  • Special educational needs;
  • Special services that the parent with custody contributes;
  • The costs of transporting the child to the other parent for visitation rights;
  • Public assistance paid to support the child; or
  • Any other necessary expenses for the benefit of the child.10 

But both parents are equally responsible for health care expenses not reimbursed from another source. The exception is if there are extraordinary circumstances11

Two cute young special needs children in school

7. When can a court award less child support?

The court may order less child support than the statute calls for based on:

  • A parent's legal responsibility for the support of others;
  • The amount of time the child spends with each parent; and/or
  • The relative income of both parents.12

8. Child support when parents have joint custody

Sometimes parents share joint custody of their children. Joint custody exists when each parent has physical custody of a child at least 40% of the time.

When there is joint custody each parent must support the children. In the interest of fairness, the parent making more money must pay support to the parent making less.

Nevada courts calculate this difference using a formula called the Wright v. Osburn offset.13

The calculation is straightforward. Simply take the amount each parent would owe if they did not have custody. Then subtract the smaller amount from the larger one. The parent who earns more must pay this difference to the one who earns less.

Example: Michelle and Ned share joint custody of their two young children. Michelle makes $6,000 a month. Ned makes $4,000 a month.
Under Nevada law, the amount of child support for two children is 25% of gross monthly income. For Michelle, this is $1,500 per month (25% of $6,000). For Ned, this is $1,000 per month (25% of $4,000). The court will subtract $1,000 from $1,500. This leaves $500. Michelle must pay this amount to Ned since he earns less than she does.

9. Can a Nevada child support order be modified?

Either parent can petition the court to modify a child support order when:

  • The child has new special needs (such as medical care), or
  • A parent can no longer afford to pay child support due to changed circumstances (such as losing a job),
  • The other parent's income has increased, or
  • It has been 3 years or more since the court's last review.14

A court must review a child support order if a parent's gross monthly income has changed by more than 20%. It will also grant the petition if it has been at least 3 years since its last review. Otherwise, the court has the discretion to grant or deny a review.

If the court agrees to modify child support the new order will only apply to payments that have not yet accrued. The amount of support will not change with regard to any past due payments.

judge's gavel on a pile of money

10. What if the other parent lives out of state?

Parents entitled to child support from an out-of-state spouse may need to seek the help of an attorney in the other state.

Our firm has offices in California and Colorado, as well as relationships with lawyers in other states.

11. When do child support payments end?

Child support payments normally cease when:

  • The child turns 18, or
  • Another family legally adopts the child.16

A parent must continue to pay support for a handicapped (disabled) child who is 18 or older until:

  • The child is no longer handicapped, or
  • The child becomes self-supporting.15

The law considers a child self-supporting if the child receives public assistance and it is sufficient to meet the child's needs.

But the obligation to pay support for a disabled child applies only if the child became handicapped before he or she turned 18.

12. What happens if a parent does not pay child support?

A child support order is a legal court judgment. The parent entitled to child support may take the other parent to court to enforce it.17

Failure to pay child support in Nevada for any significant period of time is also a crime.

If the parent owes less than $10,000 in delinquent child support, non-payment is a misdemeanor. Punishment can include:

  • Up to 6 months in jail, and/or 
  • Up to $1,000 in fines. 

If a parent owes more than $10,000 in child support, failure to pay is a felony in Nevada. Penalties can include:

  • 1 - 5 years in Nevada State Prison, and 
  • Up to $10,000 in fines.

13. Can the state of Nevada help me collect child support?

The state can provide assistance with some child support issues. The agency that provides help is the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Welfare and Supportive Services.

Parents can obtain this assistance by completing an Application for Child Support Services

There is also a Nevada Interstate Child Support Office that can help you if your child's other parent lives out of state. 

But in either case, you will likely receive faster and better results by hiring your own lawyer.

14. How can a family lawyer help?

Once a court enters a child support order, it can be costly and difficult to change it.

If you are the parent receiving support, a lawyer can help ensure your receive the maximum your child deserves. And if you are the one paying support, a lawyer can make sure you don't pay more than you are legally required or willing to.

An experienced Las Vegas child support lawyer can also help you:

  • Obtain custody of your children or modify a child custody order,
  • Enforce your visitation rights,
  • Get reimbursement for your child's unpaid medical bills, or
  • Enforce a court order for unpaid child support.

Need help with child support in Las Vegas? Call us…

If you need help negotiating, enforcing or defending against a child support order, we invite you to call us for a free consultation.

To schedule your free consultation call us at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673). Or complete the form on this page.


 Legal references:

  1. NRS 125B.030A.
  2. NRS 125B.070 (1).
  3. See also NRS Chapter 126 -- Parentage.
  4. NRS 125B.070 (1).
  5. NRS 125B.070 (1)(a).
  6. NRS 125B.080 (4).
  7. NRS 125B.080 (8).
  8. NRS 125B.080 (2).
  9. NRS 125B.070.
  10. NRS 125B.080 (9).
  11. NRS 125B.080 (7).
  12. NRS 125B.080 (9).
  13. Wright v. Osburn 970 P. 2d 1071 (1998).
  14. NRS 125B.145.
  15. NRS 125B.120 (2).
  16. NRS 125B.110 (1).
  17. NRS 125B.140.
  18. Same.

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